Zander makes himself a plate of hash browns and sits across from Nathan. “Alright then, try to talk science with this person. Study up on it. What kind of science are they into?”
“Oh. Um… Chem…istry? Uh, yes, chemistry. With some biology. Sometimes astronomy.” Nathan twirled his fork around, suddenly not feeling very hungry at all.
“Good, so when you speak to this person again try to bring up these topics. Then, move to step three of plan Zander: make them feel good. If you want a person to like you, you want them to feel good about themselves when they are with you. That way, they associate you with good times, and that is an association you want to make.” He takes a bite of his hash browns.
“O-oh, I already try to do that!” Nathan sputtered. “I-I mean, I try to… He – they, they don’t always take it the way I’d hope they would…”
He swallows. “So you’re already doing part three! Good. As long as you are trying, you are heading in the right direction.” Zander continues to eat his food. “Do we have drinks? I’m gonna grab a drink from the fridge.” He gets up from his seat and heads over to the fridge, grabs some OJ, and returns to the table. “Alright. Step four of plan Zander: Be honest.”
“Be honest?” Nathan echoed. His eyes widened slightly in terror. “Honest about what?” His foot began to tap again, louder and faster than it had before, to the point where his entire leg started to shake, similar to a nervous rabbit alerting the warren to some unseen threat.
“Honest about what you want.” He said nonchalantly. “For example, when I hit on someone, I always make sure they know what they are getting in for. I want to have sex, and I make sure whoever I’m hitting on knows that I want to have sex with them. No one likes to be lead on, and it’s never ok to trick a person into romantic relations. That’s just fucked.”
Nathan nodded slowly. “I guess… I guess it’s kind of both here? I-I mean, I’m of course not demanding anything. Whatever they want from me I’m happy to give, even if it’s just friendship. But I do really want to at least try something romantic. And sexual too, I suppose,” he added, face dark red. “They’re very handsome to me, though I don’t think other people would exactly agree.”
Zander continues to eat. “Eh, I’m sure they’re fine looking. Looks aren’t everything. Just make sure they know what you want out of the relationship, that’s what’s important.” He takes a swig of the OJ he poured, and then gestures the bottle to Nathan. “Want some?”
“Oh, ah, no thank you,” Nathan said, politely declining the drink. “Is there any more of Plan Zander I should know about?”
He puts the bottle down. “Well, parts five through seven hundred and thirty four are all mostly contingency plans for various scenarios, so yeah I think you’re good. As long as you remember the key points I told you, you should have no problem.”
Nathan sucked in a deep breath. “Okay. Just… one more question.” He glanced around the room, trying to make absolutely sure there was no one else there before asking, in a low voice, “Does… any of this change when I tell you the person in question is Jeremiah?”
There. Done. Said. No turning back.
He sat there for a moment in complete silence. He locked eyes with Nathan. “That changes EVERYTHING!” He slammed his hands on the table for dramatic effect, knocking over his plate. “Oh shit my food, whoops.” He reached down. “Anyway, yeah that actually doesn’t change too much. Step one becomes a fuck ton more important, and step three becomes impossible. Still, you can do this.” He picks up his plate and garnish leaf off the floor, and puts a hand on Nathan’s shoulder. “I believe in you Nathan. Jeremiah may be cold at times, but there is a good person in there.”
Nathan looked down bashfully, biting his lip. “I know,” he said, his voice soft. “He can be abrasive, sure, but he’s smart, really smart, and really funny. And he can be really generous and kind. I-I just-” He kneaded his hands together, staring at the table with an awkward smile. “I-I know he probably won’t ever see me that way back, I-I’m not particularly handsome or special or anything.” He shrugged. “But if there’s anything I can do to make him happy, that would be enough for me.”
“I’m sure it will all turn out fine.”
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